DJI adds FPV racing to its already bulging bag of tricks

Panoramic sweeps, racing tricks, pants-wetting speed, the DJI FPV does it all.

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The DJI FPV is proof that DJI is incredibly good at putting together blockbuster features into one polished package.

While hardcore drone racers may look at the FPV as a wannabe, the reality is that you’d be hard-pressed to find a drone that does everything you’d associate with a drone competently – short of taking out military targets.

DJI’s drones are more often used for panoramic videos with some leisurely flying fun thrown in but the FPV now gives you the option to be a part-time speed demon. The new FPV Goggles V2 let you view or control the drone in the first-person with low latency visuals from the drone’s perspective. And the battery is good for up to 20 minutes a pop (far less if you are pushing its limits, of course), making it a decent all-rounder.

“Right out of the box, DJI FPV combines the best available technology for a hybrid drone like no other. It can fly like a racer, hover like a traditional drone, accelerate like a homebuilt project and stop faster than any of them," is how Ferdinand Wolf, Creative Director, DJI Europe, summed up what the FPV is all about. Though we can’t prove or disprove the claims that it matches the performance of homebuilts, but it gives us a clear idea of what the FPV was designed to do.

For that matter, no homebuilt is going to teach you how to fly, and makers like DJI offers an easy entry point for those who want to get into the hobby without being overwhelmed. It comes with apps like DJI Fly, which now includes detailed tutorials on how to operate the DJI FPV, while the new DJI Virtual Flight App (iOS for now, Android to come) is a simulator that teaches you drone flying movements in a risk-free environment.

Designed for speed

The DJI FPV is arguably DJI’s coolest looking drone
The DJI FPV is arguably DJI's coolest looking drone

At the heart of the new FPV are a set of new motors that can deliver a maximum speed of 140 kph with a max acceleration of 0-100 kph in a mere two seconds. Thanks to new high-performance motors and safety features, the drone has three modes, which includes a sports mode and a full manual mode for experienced racers.

In Normal mode, it’s just like any other DJI drone, and you are assisted by sensor warnings. Obstacle Detection will alert you of threats and slows the craft down. Manual mode removes all sensor assistance and hover features, while Sport is a hybrid of the two, offering increased mobility and speed but still retaining some safety features in all modes.

The FPV has safety nets like an emergency brake and hovering capabilities to reduce the likelihood of crashes, along with GPS-based geofencing to help you stay away from restricted airspace, and an ADS-B receiver that warns pilots via FPV Goggles of manned aircraft (equipped with ADS-B) nearby.

There’s also Visual Positioning Sensors that assist in takeoff and landings, while Failsafe Return to Home triggers the drone to come back when it loses the transmission signal or if you press a button to trigger the return.

The FPV experience

Nope, this isn’t a remnant of Enclave power armour, it’s the FPV Goggles V2
Nope, this isn't a remnant of Enclave power armour, it's the FPV Goggles V2

The FPV is equipped with a 4K/60fps 120Mbps-capable camera that can also record in 120fps slow motion. The camera is mounted on a single axis gimbal and also utilises RockSteady stabilisation technology to reduce shake and the rolling shutter effect.

To enable its first-person view feature, you’ll need the v2 version of the FPV Goggles. The low-latency stream is made possible through the third generation OcuSync tech (O3), which brings low-latency high definition video to the table and is specced to deliver stable 4K video at 60 fps, with up to 50 Mbps bitrate and up to 10 Km transmission in perfect conditions. It also features auto-switching dual-frequencies and “state-of-the-art” anti-interference methods for feed reliability.

So no, you don’t get HD quality visuals through the goggles – max resolution tops out at 1440x810p but from what we’ve experienced so far, it’s not necessary (or you can fly quicker and turn everything into a blur; just kidding). The goggles have three modes: High-Quality mode, Low latency mode (≤ 28 ms), and audience mode, where up to eight people can join in to view the action.

The full range of DJI FPVs and accessories.
The full range of FPVs and accessories.

DJI FPV is available for purchase from store.dji.com/sg , official DJI stores on Lazada and Shopee , and the DJI flagship store at Funan. The standard DJI FPV Combo includes the FPV drone, remote controller 2, FPV Goggles V2, all required cables and one battery for the retail price of $1,699. The drone and the goggles are also available separately at $1099 and $899 respectively. An optional single-handled Motion Controller (so you can control the drone with hand movements) is priced at $219.